Toshiba has completed an investigation, crediting PhoneNews.com for its initiation. As part of our expansion into all-tech coverage, a process that will run throughout this year, we began investigating hard drive topics and expanding our coverage into storage… something that is begining to enter the mobile space, while traditionally being a topic for PCs and laptops.
In our previous report, Toshiba acknowledged to PhoneNews.com that our discovery of issues affecting Canvio hard drives was indeed product-wide, but Toshiba had not yet determined if the cause was a problem on Apple’s end or Toshiba’s end of the equation. We initiated our own investigation, purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of Toshiba drives, after users reported to us that they were having issues with the drives. We originally promoted these drives during our Black Friday deal coverage. Multiple retailers offered these hard drives at bargain prices, some as low as $79 for 1 TB of USB 3.0 portable drive storage.
Toshiba also stressed that the only impacted drives are Canvio portable hard drives that support both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 modes. Canvio drives that are USB 2.0 only, are not affected. Toshiba did market their USB 3.0 Canvio drive line as being Mac-compatible at USB 2.0 speeds. Many purchased these drives, especially Mac owners, as being upgrade-proof, since future Mac models will likely employ USB 3.0 hardware. Indeed, some Mac Pro users have already added PCI Express expansion cards that support USB 3.0 using third-party drivers.
Toshiba’s investigation found a fault in the Canvio drives themselves, however they have asked us to stress that the problem does not result in any form of data loss. Toshiba will however replace the drive for any affected users on any PC or Mac with this problem, and have trained Toshiba technical support to order the proper, fixed replacement drives.
Specifically, Toshiba’s drives will not work properly with MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models, other Mac models do not appear to be affected. Some PC models have been affected, but Toshiba did not specifically list any, treating that as a standard warranty issue.
This problem also underscores a systemic issue in consumer protections with retailers. Many retailers, such as Office Depot, refused to accept returns for drives opened and found to not be compatible due to this error. For many that bought the drives on Black Friday, that means half the one-year Limited Warranty has been consumed waiting for Toshiba to complete its investigation, and issue replacement drives. In other nations, retailers have been compelled by federal laws to accept returns when drives are found to not be functional, as-advertised.
In the end, this issue impacting primarily Mac users only may be too small for widespread action, and we do thank Toshiba for quickly initiating an investigation based on our reporting.
Below is the official press statement from Toshiba to consumers regarding the incident:
Toshiba DPD has identified an isolated USB connectivity issue between the Canvio USB 3.0 drive and currently shipping MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. The issue, affecting a small number of users, involves the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air being unable to recognize the Canvio USB 3.0 drive when connected directly to the laptop USB 2.0 port. Toshiba recommends that the affected MacBook Pro and MacBook Air users either employ a powered USB hub to connect their Canvio USB 3.0 drives to remedy the issue or contact Toshiba to obtain further service. To obtain such service users may visit www.acclaim.toshiba.com or call 1-888-592-0944.
Toshiba recommends that users back up their existing data, if any, stored on the affected drive before returning it to Toshiba.